Why I went in for an ECV and left | My ECV story

waiting for the doctor to arrive and flip baby!

Hi friends!! Today I’m excited to share the beginning of my ‘birth story’ with you.

If you’re new here, my first daughter was breech so her birth was a scheduled c-section. I didn’t have a terrible experience, but I had been planning on a natural unmedicated birth before finding out.

Everything went smoothly, but at the same time it was a scary experience and walking myself into the operating room for a scheduled birth was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

The first time though, ignorance was bliss. I was very brave about it, didn’t know what to expect, and went in feeling good.

After having gone through it, it’s not something I ever wanted to do again, so I knew I’d opt for a VBAC next time. I swore that no matter what, my second baby would be a successful VBAC. There was no way I’d have two breech babies right?! And if I did, I’d do everything in my power to flip them.

I also want to say, as someone who follows a lot of natural minded people, it can be frustrating to see people recommending delivering baby breech anyway. Acting like this is an option and magical home-birth midwives are available everywhere to pop in and blissfully deliver baby in your bathtub is far fetched. I sympathize with anyone who encounters this.

Well, as it turns out, baby #2 was breech. I found out again around probably 30 ish weeks and knew my fate but was still set on trying my list of flipping methods.

None of the at home techniques worked for me, but I hadn’t lost hope yet because my last resort was an ECV- external cephalic version. This is when a doctor manually attempts to turn the baby into head down position. It works about 50% of the time.

I went on Instagram right away and asked you all about ECV’s and your experiences. It’s funny because about 50% of those who had done it recommended it, and 50% said they wouldn’t do it again.

I really couldn’t stomach the thought of another c-section and especially the thought of staying at the hospital for 2 nights away from Kensie, so at my next appt. we discussed the procedure.

I go to a group practice so there are a handful of doctors there, and I see 4 of them on rotation, which isn’t ideal.

The doctor explained the simple procedure. You arrive as if you’re having a scheduled c-section because it could end that way if your water breaks during, or if baby goes into distress. They have to fully prep you for surgery- IV, etc. She said it would be done in a triage room and we would know in about 5 minutes if baby was going to flip or not. She said the only medication I would be given is a shot in the arm to relax the uterus so that you don’t have contractions while they’re trying to spin the baby.

I went home and scheduled the ECV for 37 weeks. This is as soon as you can do it, since having baby is a risk so they need to be full-term.

My mom spent the night the night before since we had to get up at 4 AM, and leave the house shortly after to arrive at the hospital at 5 AM and get prepped for my 7 AM procedure.

I couldn’t sleep that night, I was nervous and excited and couldn’t wait to get it over with and come home with a flipped baby in my belly all ready for my natural birth. Not to mention the nerves of the unknown and the potential for having a c-section if something went wrong. There was always the chance that I’d come back home with my baby and I truly didn’t feel ‘ready’ for another surgery.

We made our way up to labor and delivery, I changed into my gown, got my IV, started fetal monitoring and waited for 7:00.

Just before 7:00, the nurse came in and asked me if I wanted an epidural…”absolutely not?!” I thought.

Turns out, some women opt for an epidural for pain management during the procedure as it is quite uncomfortable, and to have it placed incase something goes wrong.

That was one of the factors in me wanting an unmedicated birth… I didn’t want an epidural, so I definitely didn’t want one for an ECV.

I explained that wasn’t an option for me, and the doctor arrived.

He was the youngest doctor at my practice, my age, and one I’d only seen a couple of times.

He said that the only way he would do my ECV was if: I had an epidural + spinal combo placed, AND had the procedure performed IN the operating room fully ready for the c-section to take place immediately.

My heart sunk…

No one at my practice had ever mentioned any of this…I even had a full consult with the other doctor there about the whole process.

He said that each doctor has their own way of doing it and their own comfort level.

He said that if I didn’t have the spinal block already placed, and baby went into distress, that they would have to knock me out and put me under general anesthesia as there wouldn’t be time to wait for the anesthesiologist to do a spinal at that point if something went wrong. I would be totally asleep for the birth.

Considering my main goal was to avoid the OR, the fear associated with it, the side affects of the spinal, the uncontrollable shaking and nausea and low blood pressure. Feeling ‘out of body’ all of the things I hated the first time around, I knew I couldn’t move forward.

Not to mention, I’m ok with receiving a spinal block and baby immediately being taken out within minutes, but I’m not ok with having one and then just letting all that medicine affect me and baby for hours until it wears off. I would have literally had to just hang out at the hospital for 3+ hours essentially paralyzed from the chest down.

I got the feeling he wasn’t confident about it, and felt like if I did it, it was going to end in birth.

I did not want to deliver at 37 weeks. Especially on these upset terms.

I was overwhelmed with so many thoughts…. “do I attempt this and potentially flip her and get to have the birth I want?” “will I regret not doing it?”

As I was sitting there pondering all of this, a nurse basically jumped me and said baby was having a decel on the monitor.

This means her heart rate supposedly dropped and they swarmed me and I instantly felt numb and out of body.

It was like they were about to whisk me off and cut me open instantly.

I started freaking out.

Then she adjusted the monitor on my belly and it was totally fine. I think it had slid off a little because of how I was laying.

In that moment I understood why some people opt out of continuous fetal monitoring.

They freaked out and panicked over nothing and sent me into a state of intense anxiety. I appreciate her concern but wish she had checked the monitors and positioning before totally freaking me and the other providers out.

I just wanted out of there immediately. I told them I wasn’t doing the ECV and I wanted to leave. Tears were shed.

The nurse removed my IV and I gathered my things feeling uncertain and emotional, but also relieved and we left.

My Mom took off work to be there with Kensie so we decided to go to breakfast.

Almost immediately I felt so much peace in my decision.

I felt like the birth I was meant to have was a peaceful planned second c-section, scheduled with my doctor of preference, by my choice, on the day of my choice.

I knew the only way I could comfortably go through this again was under those terms.

I feel like if I had stayed and attempted the ECV it wouldn’t have worked anyway, and I would have put myself through unnecessary trauma and potentially an early delivery before both baby & I were ready.

Everyone has different feelings about it, but I personally feel like the last couple of weeks are important for baby’s growth and ideally want them to stay in as long as possible.

After breakfast, I went home and called the surgery coordinator and scheduled my c-section for 39 weeks with my favorite doctor.

I felt happy and peaceful and just hoped I would make it to that date without going into labor on my own.

Full birth story coming soon πŸ™‚

Thanks for being here and following along on my journey! And a HUGE thank you to those who have reached out checking on me after birth. You’re truly the best kind of people!!

Erica